Luanne Martineau at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

. February 5, 2010

Montréal – Saskatoon-born artist Luanne Martineau has made a name for herself with her virtually indescribable hybrid felt and wool sculptures. Human, animal and organic, all at once, they produce an experience that wavers between fascination and repulsion, the microscopic and the macroscopic. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal presents the exhibition Luanne Martineau from February 4 to April 25, 2010.

Luanne Martineau
Luanne Martineau, The Body, 2006. Yarn and needle-felted wool, 40,6 × 177,8 × 119,4 cm. Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo : Richard-Max Tremblay

Form Fantasy, 2009, for example, made of industrial felt, needle-felted wool and thread, looks like a soft industrial chair set on a museum base, with a grotesque figure sitting on top of it. The body recalls one of Barnett Newman’s zips, and the head, a Duchamp-style wheel, with a hole in the middle like a Cyclops’ eye.

Martineau has been challenging the underpinnings of American avant-garde art since the 1950s, in works that abound in references to Abstract Expressionism, Postminimalism, feminism and popular culture. As she breaks down the boundaries between figurative and abstract, art and craft, Martineau skilfully creates a tension between her unsettling subjects and her use of soft, pastel-coloured craft materials. The results are definitely disconcerting. Get ready for works that tackle issues dealing with the aesthetic, the social and the psychological, and do it with a light, humorous touch.

The exhibition will give visitors a chance to explore Martineau’s astonishing world through a dozen recent works produced between 2004 and 2009: an artist’s book, drawings, sculptures and what she calls “drulptures,” a unique combination of the latter two art forms.

Luanne Martineau lives and works in Victoria, British Columbia, where she teaches art theory and drawing at the University of Victoria. Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1970, she studied at the Alberta College of Art & Design and the University of British Columbia. She was short-listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2009 and her works are to be found in a number of collections, including those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, which owns three of the pieces shown in the exhibition: the sculpture The Body, 2006, and the artist’s book Freakout (Temporal Bodies) and the drawing Untitled, both from 2007. Martineau is represented by Jessica Bradley Art Projects, in Toronto, and TrépanierBaer, in Calgary.

The exhibition was organized by Lesley Johnstone, curator at the Musée. It will be presented in 2011 at the Rodman Hall Arts Centre, Brock University, in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The show is accompanied by a bilingual, 56-page catalogue. The publication contains essays by Musée curator Lesley Johnstone, Dan Adler, Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Visual Arts, York University, Toronto, and Shirley Madill, Director of the Rodman Hall Arts Centre, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, a list of works, a biobibliography and numerous colour reproductions. It was produced with contributions from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, TrépanierBaer, Jessica Bradley Art Projects and the Rodman Hall Arts Centre, Brock University. The catalogue may be purchased for $24.95 at the museum’s Boutique or from your local bookseller.

The Musée d’art contemporain is a provincially owned corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec. It receives additional funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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